Singapore market trends reflected by leasing stats

Singapore market trends reflected by leasing stati

As Singapore approaches the turn of another year, many analysts are focusing on issues that sparked interest during 2013, and extrapolating trends to consider what lies in store.

Asia as a whole continued experiencing the after-shocks of the worldwide recession that has had such an impact on international commerce over the past five years. Business sentiment continued to weaken throughout 2013, as the percentages for growth rate expectations required to be tempered. In tandem with the recent liquidity outflows from various Asian markets, Singapore's own tally dipped below the 50% mark. This was the first time this had been reported since 2012.

Multinational corporations are having to maintain a cautious outlook on the overall market environment. Ever conscious of the requirement to protect margins, companies are introducing cost savings initiatives. One of the prime areas that has been affected by this more conservative business ethos has been in real estate spending. In the Singapore business centre, the level of new leasing enquiries fell dramatically during 2013.

It is not all doom and gloom for the Singapore commercial property market. Commentators remain optimistic that it is only a matter of time before business confidence resumes. The aforementioned liquidity outflow is generally expected to be a relatively short-term phenomenon. The Asian commerce zone will continue generating a majority of the world's commercial growth.

One of the monitors of the leasing situation is the Rental Expectations Index. Colliers International published a report that illustrated the extent to which there has been a decline – albeit a gradual one – in Singapore leasing. However, the good news for Singaporean commercial enterprises right across the board, is that the fluctuations in trends shows absolutely no sign of dipping for any great length of time. Fewer brokers estimated that an increase of real estate requirements was likely over the next three quarters compared to the previous three. But the important factor was that the downward trend was definitely showing signs of slowly tapering off. It seems that no-one has reason to be pessimistic about the likelihood for growth in Singapore's leasing markets in 2014.

Singapore property available at One Shenton

Singapore property available at One Shenton

Lying in a prestigious position at the heart of Singapore, one Shenton has become one of the most desirable housing areas in the city. Located between the existing and the new central business district, it has become an extremely popular property investment due to its proximity to what is scheduled to become Singapore's Marina Bay.

Plans for this waterfront development are already well underway. Envisaged to be a vibrant marina zone, open 24/7, Marina Bay is destined to become the epitome of Singapore as the jewel on the coast of the South China Sea.

The actual housing at One Shenton spares no expense. As you enter each apartment, you are greeted by a friendly and dutiful concierge. Experienced in customer service, this concierge will be your first point of contact for anything you might require in terms of accommodation, or just general information about Singapore. At lobby level you will find superb dining services as well as various retail outlets catering for your every requirement.

At club level you will find recreational facilities that are second to none. One of the most talked about of these is undoubtedly the Sky Gym. There can be few other leisure locations in the world offering such breathtaking views while you tackle the fitness equipment. There are also a number of swimming pools, perfect as part of any exercise regime, or simply to soak in after a long day.

One Shenton offers a number of units, either for sale or for rent. For the latter, the monthly rate varies from apartment to apartment, ranging from as low as $4,300 up to $11,500 for the more luxurious accommodation. At the higher end of that scale the properties are phenomenally well-appointed, with anything up to 208 square metres or more of floor space.

All these condominium-type properties are available for shorter or long-term tenures. Renting is an extremely popular way to live in Singapore, as you can really get to know your property and feel at home, without the financial burden of coping with a large mortgage loan. On the other hand, if you are prepared to buy, the value of these unforgettable properties will make your purchase a very shrewd investment.

Singapore Marina Bay property

Singapore Marina Bay property

If you are looking to rent or buy property in Singapore, one area that is certainly worth consideration is Marina Bay. This vibrant district is one of the newest for development in the city, with residences that are built right next door to a fantastic array of business opportunities and pleasure activities.

Strolling to your apartment you will pass the Marina Bay Financial Centre. This is a collection of state-of-the-art office facilities along Marina Boulevard and Central Boulevard. Developed as recently as 2012, the Financial Centre was officially opened by Singapore's Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, in May this year. It consists of three office towers, two residential towers and an abundance of retail space in a large mall occupying 3.6 hectares. The office towers rise to an incredible 50 storeys, meaning that those inside will receive amongst the most enviable views for a workplace anywhere in the world.

Despite the residential part of Marina Bay being incorporated in these sleek, contemporary high-rise complexes, you will never be far from the hustle and bustle of Singapore. The East Coast Parkway and the Raffles Place Mass Rapid Transport (MRT) station will give convenient access to the heart of Singapore. In addition, the MRT Circle Line is due to open in the near future.

The fact that Singapore is now a global market is well catered for, with Marina Bay being close to Changi Airport. If you are looking for an even more convenient way to commute to and from the office, one that avoids the congestion in the city streets, then Marina Bay is right on the doorstep of the Singapore River taxi network.

Apartments are available for sale or for rent. If you are merely looking for a short term tenure, the monthly rates will vary from around $4,800 up to $10,500 or so. The units are designed with supreme comfort in mind, and include all the latest, most sophisticated gadgetry, as well as luxurious extras such as swimming pools.

Women entrepreneurs in Singapore

Women entrepreneurs in Singapore

Women entrepreneurs in Singapore

While Asia can boast both progressive and reactionary attitudes in abundance when it comes to gender equality, Singapore can be duly proud of its diversity and positive commitment to women's rights in the workforce.

As a country, Singapore has been a melting pot of nationalities and cultures for a long time. There are many women occupying successful and ambitious managerial roles in the island state; contrast this situation with Japan, where less than 10% of management are females.

According to Piyush Gupta, the CEO of South East Asia Pacific, Citibank, women formed the majority of his bank's Asian customer base. "We've found women respond better to women bankers… Women bring something different to business, and you need to leverage both genders. It's a substantive business issue. It is not about being kind to women. It is about ensuring the success of our business in the future."

These sentiments were echoed by Rhodora Palomar-Fresnedi, Global Head for Diversity, Unilever. The key lever in readjusting the gender mix to reflect the need for equality was receiving sufficient impetus of drive and commitment from the top down. "Engage the seven people at the top and you reach the 170,000 others."

Gary Tiernan, Global Head of Investment, Advisory & Fiduciary Managing Director, Standard Chartered Bank Private Bank, stated that his bank was almost 50/50 with male and female employees. Over a fifth of the bank's senior managers were now women. In fact, in many parts of India and Pakistan, the Standard Chartered Bank had branches that were exclusively staffed by women.

The bank's commitment to gender equality is commendable. They employ so many women for many reasons, but chief amongst these is the fact that their predominantly Asian focus gives them a competitive edge. This is down to the fact that there are so many experienced and highly skilled women in the region. Being forewarned is another crucial aspect to this, as financiers in the east can take a leaf out of mistakes that were made in the west when approaching the issue of gender.